Monday 5 May 2014

Virus Has Reportedly Wiped Out One-Tenth Of The US Pig Population

May 3, 2014

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Expect pork prices to soar, possibly to record highs, after an ailment known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has wiped out a reported seven million pigs in the US, or up to 10 percent of the country’s population.

According to Reed Karaim of National Geographic, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) estimated that PEDv has already wiped out one-tenth of all American pigs, while the USDA estimates are lower (five to seven percent).

Adult pigs typically recover from the condition in a matter of days, Karaim said, and once mothers build up a resistance to PEDv they pass it on to their offspring. However, that process can take up to a month, and many newborn piglets succumb in the meantime – a situation that NPPC president Howard Hill called “heartbreaking.”

Fortunately, health experts said that the disease is unlikely to be harmful to humans. The disease, which was first discovered in the UK in 1971, has not yet made the jump to any other species. However, while extremely unlikely, zoonotic virus specialists told National Geographic that human PEDv infection is not completely impossible.

Juergen Richt, a professor of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, told Karaim that the disease “has been around for more than 40 years” and that “there has been no evidence that anyone working with the pigs in any of that time has caught the disease.”

Likewise, Christopher Olsen, a professor of public health at the University of Wisconsin, added that there is “no evidence” that PEDv “poses a risk to people, and there is no evidence of any human infection.” Since the virus attacks the gastrointestinal tracts of pigs and not the meat, he added that there is “absolutely no reason not to continue eating pork.”

Concerns grow in Europe over threat from deadly pig virus

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, BBC News

The virus has proved to be particularly deadly for young pigs

France is expected to suspend pig-related imports from a number of countries as worries grow over the spread of a deadly swine virus.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDv) has killed some seven million piglets in the US in the past year.

The disease has also been found in Canada, Mexico and Japan.

While the virus isn't harmful to humans or food, France is concerned over the potential economic impact and is set to suspend imports of live pigs and sperm.

PEDv is spread in faecal matter and attacks the guts of pigs, preventing them from absorbing liquids and nutrients.

Older animals can survive but fatality rates among piglets run between 80% and 100%.

So virulent is the agent that one expert estimated that a spoonful of infected manure would be enough to sicken the entire US herd.

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